Teenage depression is on the rise, and a lot of factors contribute to this situation. From academic stressors, peer pressure, family and societal issues, to hormones and body changes, the adolescent mind is highly susceptible to stress which can often lead to the development of depressive symptoms. So it’s really important for teens and their support system to work on ways to cope to minimize the impact that their triggers and stressors have on their overall wellbeing.
The right approach to coping with teenage depression combines medication management, therapeutic interventions, and self-help strategies that help the adolescent easily manage the immense feelings of helplessness, doubt, anger, sadness, and confusion. Professionals at BasePoint Academy help teenagers with mental health needs live normal lives. Contact us to get help for a depressed young man or woman.
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Teenage Depression - Coping Skills
Exercising helps to release endorphins (feel-good chemicals) in your body that bolsters your mood and combats symptoms of depression. Regular physical activity can help with sleep difficulties and fatigue, which are some of the symptoms of depression that can make you feel helpless and unproductive. A teenager can exercise by running, walking a dog, dancing, skating, or participating in any other physical activity. One can start with a few minutes and improve over time.
If you eat unhealthily, your body will feel sluggish which can create room for depression to worsen. However, eating a balanced diet contributes immensely to the performance of your body and mental health. Eat whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and avoid fast foods and baked products. If you have no idea where to start improving your nutrition, find the help of a nutritionist.
Isolating yourself when depressed can often exacerbate symptoms. When you notice your teen withdrawing from social interactions, you will want to encourage them to find a friend and stay connected to those around them. While spending time alone can be a healthy coping skill you will want to watch out for excessive isolation. Peer support groups or extracurricular activities can make socializing more effective and fun.
For some teens struggling with depression, sleep patterns can get disrupted. Some may experience excessive sleep and others may experience bouts of insomnia. Track your teen’s sleeping patterns to identify any difficulties and/or causes to their sleep disruption and seek a professional to guide you on how to overcome it.
Avoid Drug Abuse
Depressed teenagers are easily tempted into the use of alcohol and drugs in an effort to boost their mood. But substance use can adversely affect your teen often leading to depression and suicidal thoughts and making a bad situation worse. It’s critical to avoid self-medicating via drugs and alcohol when feeling depressed. If your teen is using drugs or alcohol, seek help from a professional.
Teen Depression - Symptoms and Causes
Brain chemistry – There are brain chemicals that cause the brain to send various signals across the body. Sometimes the chemicals released are abnormal or impaired so that it interferes with the nervous system, causing depression.
Hormonal imbalance – When the release of hormones is not well balanced, this can trigger depression.
Trauma – If a teenager has experienced a traumatic event, even at a young age, the trauma can cause your teen to be more susceptible to the development of depression.
Genetics– Teenagers whose parents or grandparents struggled with depression can be genetically predisposed to the development of depression or other mental health needs.
Conditioning the brain – Teen depression can result from the conditioning of their brain to feel helpless, sad, angry, or other depressive symptoms. Learning to feel this way over time makes it difficult to challenge negative thinking.
Some of the symptoms you’ll see in teenagers with depression include:
- Feeling tired and fatigued
- Losing sleep or sleeping excessively
- Decrease of increase in appetite
- Drug and substance abuse
- Thinking slowly than before
- Body aches you can’t explain
- Poor performance in education
- Feeling restless
- Attempting to commit suicide
- Anger outbursts
- Ignoring personal hygiene
Parent’s Guide to Teen Depression
Teen depression can cause a lot of damage if it’s not addressed. Therefore, you don’t want to wait until an adolescent is struggling with suicidal ideations or self-harm thoughts and behaviors before you take action. When you notice some of the symptoms we’ve mentioned above, approach them with love and without judgment to help. Sometimes depression won’t be the problem but the symptoms should be addressed before they cause it.
For instance, a teenager might be involved in drug use because of peer pressure. Get to them and find a solution quickly before it causes depression.
You have to be open to discussion and let them understand your concerns. Let the teen tell you what is happening in their life. Ask questions but not too many so that they don’t feel crowded and patronized. Sometimes what they’ll say will not be what you think, so be ready to listen and trust what they tell you. Here are some pointers to keep you in check:
- Don’t lecture your teen, listen to what they have to say
- They might shut you out at first, so be persistent but gentle
- Take their feelings seriously, don’t downplay even the irrational feelings
- Find a trusted third party if you are unsuccessful accessing them